South Park Secrets
March 28-April 3, 1998


TV Guide came out with these secrets about South Park two years ago, and I present them to you now, along with some observations about them
  1. IT ALL BEGAN WITH A HOMICIDAL SNOWMAN
    By now fans know that an animated short, "The Spirit of Christmas," inspired South Park. But it was preceded by an earlier version made while Parker and Stone were at University of Colorado. It's about four little boys trying to stop a snowman on a killing spree in the snow-blanketed mountain town.
  2. OH, MY GOD! THEY'VE KILLED KENNY!
    Why has that boy in the hood died in every episode except one? "We just like to kill him," says Stone." And we really like the line, "Oh, my God, they killed Kenny!'"
  3. PARKER AND STONE WRITE ABOUT WHAT THEY KNOW
    "I'm Stan, and Matt is Kyle," says Parker. Cartman, they say, is a little bit of everyone ("He's the garbage in everyone's soul," according to Stone).
  4. SOME PARENTS MAKE GOOD ROLE MODELS
    Like Parker, Stan has a father who's a geologist; and a mom who is, as Trey puts it, "normal." But, he explains, "There's this side of my mother that I use for Cartman's mom. No matter how bad things are, she would always just bake cookies." Stone's parents, however, are nothing like Kyle's. "Kyle's father wears a yarmulke, and my dad is a big, tall Irish guy," he says. "And my mom's not reactionary like Kyle's. My family's kewl, but really boring."
  5. DURING COLLEGE, PARKER COPIED FROM HIS TEACHER, NOT OTHER STUDENTS
    Mr. Garrison, the kids' teacher, is based on Parker's British-literature professor. "He talked just like that," says Parker. "And (just like Mr. Garrison), everyone was a "big silly" to him. He said "Chaucer's kind of a big silly." I just sat in the back and tried to get his voice down."
  6. ISAAC HAYES IS CHEF
    Parker admits that he and Stone weren't sober when they conceived the soul-singing school-cafeteria chef. Later, when it came to casting him, they agreed they had to have '70s icon Isaac Hayes. Their backup choice: -Barry White.
  7. A BROKEN HEART IS GOOD FOR CREATIVITY
    The love of Stan's life, Wendy Testaburger, is drawn from Parker's former fiancée, who left him for someone else. Parker concedes that he gets nervous around girls, though unlike Stan, he has never puked in one's presence.
  8. MAKING KENNY'S BLOOD IS SIMPLE
    When it comes to creating Kenny's blood for his death scenes, animators use an ink dot from a Sharpie red marker and they scan into the computer.
  9. TERRANCE AND PHILLIP ARE CANADIAN
    "That's why they talk that way," says Parker, "and that's why they look different."
  10. WOULD THE MR. HANKEY SHOW HAVE MADE AS BIG A SPLASH AS SOUTH PARK?
    "Our show was going to be called The Mr. Hankey Show, starring a happy little piece of poo," says Parker. "But then we were persuaded (by the Foxlab TV executive Brian Garden) to focus more on the four little boys and the town."
  11. SISTERS ARE GOOD SOURCES FOR JOKES
    Like Stan, Parker has an older sister named Shelley who wore orthodontal headgear and bullied him when they were kids. A photo of Stone's sister Rachel made a cameo in the pilot, framed on a table in Cartman's house.
  12. THE GUYS AREN'T CHARLES DICKENS FANS
    Pip, the British student who the other kids can't stand, is named for the character from Great Expectations.
    But in season 5 he'll star all by himself in a musical episode about the book
  13. DO-IT-YOURSELF IS THE CHEAPEST WAY TO GO
    Originally, the duo voiced characters because they couldn't afford actors. Now Stone does Kyle, Kenny, Jesus, Jimbo, Terrance, Pip, and Big Gay Al. Parker does Stan, Cartman, Mr. Garrison, Officer Barbrady, Mr. Mackey, Phillip, and Mr. Hankey.
  14. IT WILL ALWAYS BE WINTER IN SOUTH PARK
    The kids don't take off their parkas, and the snow never melts. "When we started doing the show, we could never figure out how to animate the kids walking," says Stone. "We figured if we kept snow up to their knees, you'd never have to see them walking."
    Actually, Kyle's feet move quite a bit in "Cartman Gets An Anal Probe." Pip's feet are seen moving in "An Elephant Makes Love To A Pig." All four boys are seen walkng in South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut. Cartman is seen running in "Cartman's Little Hate Crime 2000." Wendy is seen performing some fancy ice-skating in the movie. The kids have taken their parkas off on several occasions and have appeared in suits, briefs, leotards, and naked (from behind). The snow has melted in South Park a few times, especially in "Summer Sucks."
  15. KENNY SPEAKS HIS OWN LANGUAGE
    What is mumbling Kenny actually saying? Stone says that he improvises dialog in the sound booth, but admits that many of his own words would be bleeped out if they could be deciphered.
    A lot of times, what Kenny says is undeniably clear. So clear, in fact, that he was bleeped for the first time in "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000."
  16. IS THE FORCE WITH KENNY?
    There are 20 different mouths for each character, excluding Kenny, whose face has yet to be seen. But that may change. "In a very special episode you'll see Kenny's face," says Parker. "It'll be like Darth Vader in 'The Empire Strikes Back.'"
    This never happened on the show. It took a movie to reveal Kenny's face, but his unhooded head is seen from behind in "The Tooth Fairy's Tats 2000." His mouth can be seen in "Pink Eye."
  17. HEY ELTON, PARKER COULD BE THE NEXT BERNIE TAUPIN
    Chef's songs are written by Parker, who studied music theory in college.
  18. EVEN SOUTH PARK GETS CENSORED
    Believe it or not, this outrageous show has limits: A scene in which Shelley throws matches on Stan was cut at the request of Comedy Central for fear that kids might imitate the act.
    In the Aspen interview, Debora Liebling said that the duo thought about spoofing the Nation of Islam, but that she urged them not to do it, for their own safety.
  19. LOOKING SIMPLE IS COMPLICATED
    In the pilot more than 5,000 actual construction-paper cutouts were used, and each action was individually filmed. Now each episode is computer-generated.
  20. FOOD IS FUNCTIONAL
    To give a scene texture, food is scanned into a computer. Mr. Hankey's stains were made with chocolate. Jelly, and cake have been used on Cartman's face.
  21. CARTMAN'S WEIGHT VARIES
    In order to fit Cartman under a school desk, the animators shave some inches off of his chubby frame.
  22. GUEST STARS AREN'T TAKEN SERIOUSLY
    ER's George Clooney played a gay dog; Jerry Seinfeld declined the role of a turkey. What will they offer dream guest, Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway?
    Since then, some guests have had significant air time. These include: Korn, Jennifer Aniston, Natasha Henstridge, Jay Leno, and George Clooney (in the movie).
  23. SOUTH PARK SPARES NO ONE
    Kathie Lee Gifford, Sally Struthers, and Barbra Streisand are among those who have been targets so far. "We like to make fun of famous people," says Stone.
  24. CHEESY POOFS AREN'T REAL
    Cartman's favorite snack isn't a local delicacy. The show simply couldn't get legal clearance to use Chee-Tos.
    And that's why they went ahead and had a company make them. They are like Chee-Tos, but much fatter. Now you can find Cheesy Poofs and Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls.
  25. THE KIDS WILL ALWAYS BE IMMATURE
    The gang won't grow up, their creators say, but if they did, Stan might have a TV show.. Kyle might be a scientist, a banker, or a slumlord. Cartman would sell insurance. Kenny? Well, it's obvious, isn't it?
    ... well, in 2000 the third grade class moved to fourth grade, so all the boys are a year older. The unfortunate thing is that they are no taller in fourth than they were in third, so making them fifth-graders is out of the question.